Owing to local companies’ commitment to legally comply with safety standards, power management company Eaton aims to increase market awareness of its intelligent addressable fire systems this year, states Eaton Africa business development manager Neil Primrose.
“There is currently an intensified view on the value of life, which is why companies are focusing on their safety obligations . . . to ensure that employees’ lives are protected in all aspects,” he stresses.
Primrose tells Engineering News that, to enhance this focus, contingency plans for the early detection of fire using fire systems are key to ensure safety and the protection of human life and property, as well as the continuity and integrity of a business.
“Consequently, intelligent addressable fire systems ensure early fire detection and assist in evacuating staff and extinguishing the fire,” he says, noting that Eaton’s intelligent addressable fire systems allow for fire-detecting sensors or call points to be used, which are electronically coded with a unique address to conduct two-way communication.
Primrose further highlights that the estimated growth in the uptake of such systems in South Africa is currently about 6.5% a year.
While he acknowledges that these systems have been available in Southern Africa for several years, he points out that changes in the local competitive landscape over the past 12 months have enabled Eaton to focus on this product range.
Eaton’s intelligent addressable fire systems include the CF2000, the CF1100/1200 and the CF3000 series of addressable panels. These systems also have additional integration capabilities, such as that of a public address/voice system, which allows for alerting staff, says Primrose.
Key product features include the configuration from a one-loop to a four-loop operation. Primrose explains that intelligent addressable system devices are typically connected to the panel using a small number of large loops, rather than each zone wired as a separate circuit, as this greatly simplifies the installation of the system and reduces the installation cost.
This also provides the flexibility to meet the requirements of the small and simple to the very large and demanding installation projects. Primrose notes that up to 200 devices – such as smoke detectors, heat detectors, manual call points and notification devices, such as sounders and beacons – can be on each loop and, with the soft addressing capability, reduces installation time.
Other features include flexible networkability, as each panel is networkable with up to 126 other Eaton addressable control panels, full graphical interfaces, a suite of Site Monitor software, a large and versatile touch screen, user interface and multilanguage capability.
Further, the systems offer interoperability by communicating with various building management systems and an extended battery option that allows for 72 hours of standby power.
Primrose points out that ease of installation and programming are further benefits.
Moreover, he suggests that, with the South African and African market focused on cost, the whole life cost of these systems – including the capital, installation and maintenance costs, as well as the cost- effective system-expansion capability – has seen the intelligent addressable fire systems become significantly competitive.
Primrose highlights that it is a requirement that local consultants become accredited fire-systems designers.
He stresses that accredited fire-system designers need to understand fires, the evacuation requirements and the relevant safety aspects.
“This provides a more professional and standardised view on fire-system approaches across the market,” Primrose emphasises.
He concludes that, as this is “a significant move in the South African market”, Eaton is relying on assistance from key local designers to establish the accreditation of fire systems to local and/or European standards.